Div. of Education to become School of Ed.

Eric Peterson


Often times, change is needed to grow, which is exactly what Quinnipiac University is doing.

On July 1, 2008, the Division of Education, currently part of the College of Liberal Arts, will officially become the School of Education. Also on that date, the College of Liberal Arts will become the College of Arts and Sciences.

After recently adding a new program in educational leadership, as well as having an increasing number of faculty and students, the Division of Education required a separate identity.

“Quinnipiac University is growing, becoming larger and more complex, and there was a time 12 years ago when there was no School of Communications,” said Kathleen McCourt, the Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs. “As interest grew, we moved to have a separate School of Communications. Now, as our education programs are growing, we want the education programs to grow further, so adding them as a separate school gives them visibility.”

McCourt hopes that more visibility will help the new school recruit good students. Even though the fresh identity will in no way change the curriculum or degree requirements, the change allows for an improvement in status. The School of Education will have sole representatives on the faculty senate rather than have representative voters as a part of the College of Liberal Arts.

“As a division, we were connected to the College of Liberal Arts. Now we won’t be under that umbrella,” said Mordechai Gordon, associate professor of education. “It is important to participate in the conversation and have a voice. It’s more like being on an equal footing with other schools in the university.”

The road to establishing the School of Education did not prove to be difficult at all. Changing the name was just administrative re-organization since nothing changes for the degree programs and nothing changes for the students. Cynthia Dubea, the current dean of the Division of Education, will be the dean of the School of Education.

In another move for growth of the university, the College of Liberal Arts will officially become the College of Arts and Sciences. As part of the change, the departments of biological sciences, chemistry and physical science, currently in the School of Health Sciences, will be incorporated into the College of Arts and Sciences. Much like the School of Education, these changes in health sciences will not affect the curriculum or degree requirements.

“Our structure of having biology and chemistry in the School of Health Sciences was less typical,” McCourt said. “More typical is a model that has a College of Arts and Sciences together so that the undergraduate curriculum, that is really a liberal arts curriculum, tends typically to be in one school.”

Since biology and chemistry are undergraduate departments and because science courses are a core requirement, they serve not only biology and chemistry majors but all students in the general education curriculum.

In order to make the shift run smoothly for both the students and programs, a transition committee will be formed so that all issues are addressed. The Interim Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Ed Kavanagh, will lead the committee composed of administrative and faculty representatives. The expected issues will include changing the catalog, making sure all students have advisors and other rather straightforward transitional tasks.

The department changes are part of a larger organizational effort as the School of Health Sciences, scheduled to move to the new North Haven campus in 2009, will primarily focus on its professional programs. These programs include nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant, diagnostic imaging and radiology assistant.

“Its going to have a more professional component to it,” said McCourt, speaking about the North Haven campus. “Even though we have undergraduates in these programs, we also have graduate programs.”

The graduate programs in the School of Health Sciences are typically of the lengthy variety. Physical Therapy students stay for six years to be a clinical doctor of physical therapy while the Occupational Therapy students also stay to get a master’s degree. Nursing students do not have to stay but a master’s degree is offered. According to McCourt, all those programs play into that professional and graduate profile.

Along with the School of Health Sciences, the School of Education will also be moving to the North Haven campus, probably in 2010 due to construction and available space. The future move of both these schools to a new campus is a main factor in the current re-organization.

“That was one of the main reasons for doing all this now because this campus, the Mount Carmel campus, will be primarily an undergraduate campus. The North Haven campus will be a graduate and professional oriented campus,” said McCourt, who is excited for the upcoming adjustments. “I think this is going to be great because I think we’re going to have more space on both campuses now to really build these programs.”